17 November 2014

Gusto Cookridge - again!

At the risk of sounding a little unoriginal, this post will be once again highlighting the virtues of the lovely Gusto restaurant in Cookridge, Leeds. On my first visit I declared the place the perfect fancy date venue but I was there at the time for a very unromantic meal with my little brother, and have only returned since on an equally unromantic occasion with the kids, so I figured it was about time to introduce my significant other to the culinary delights available at this charming Italian restaurant.

Being familiar with my glowing reports he was of course eager to join me and he wasted no time in selecting the Deep Fried Calamari for his starter.

Calimari squid starter

I don't 'get' Calamari, the thought of it makes me feel a bit icky and I'm definitely not eating anything with visible tentacles *shudder* but the other half is a big fan and doesn't get to eat it very often so was very pleased to see this on the menu. Needless to say I didn't try it so can't really comment on it's quality but the squid expert out of the two of us was most impressed!

I went for a much safer (more boring?) choice of starter - the tomato and basil bruschetta. I've said before that I don't know how such a simple dish can be SO tasty but it always is! This was no exception - fresh and tasty. If I'm being really fussy I might have preferred a slightly higher bread-to-stuff ratio, but then I am a complete bread fiend!

gusto cookridge leeds bruschetta starter

Never one to turn down a good steak when it's available, my guest ordered the 10oz Rib Eye. Now this, I did try! It was absolutely gorgeous - perfectly cooked as per the order, juicy and full of flavour. The rib eye is served with truffle butter and sautéed wild mushrooms, and the Mr treated himself to a pot of peppercorn sauce to smother it in too. I couldn't help be a little jealous I didn't order this too!

Gusto cookridge leeds steak

A couple of sides seemed in order to accompany this meaty main and the first choice was the creamy mashed potato with salsa verde. In a further demonstration of my rather pedestrian taste in food I'd have preferred this without the salsa verde - but only because the potato itself was scrumptious. Rich, smooth creamy mashed potato like this is hard to beat!

gusto cookridge sides mashed potato leeds

To make a token effort at being a bit healthy, we also ordered a portion of the buttered winter vegetables. The sides are definitely 'sharing' size!

gusto leeds sides vegetables

Sadly none of the pictures I'd thought I'd got of my tasty pasta main seem to have made it home with me so instead I'll take a moment here to discuss my rather excellent Christmassy cocktail! Though the full Gusto Christmas menu (which sounds AMAZING - full details here!) doesn't really kick in 'til next week, the Christmas cocktails were available on the night of our visit and since they wont be around long it only made sense to try one while I can! This is the temptingly titled 'Yuletide Treacle' - made from spiced rum, dark rum and orange rum with a touch of cinnamon syrup, bitters and lemon zest. If you think that sounds like a lot of rum in small glass then you are not wrong and this definitely had a bit of a boozy kick to it! Very festive though, and delicious!

gusto leeds rum cocktail christmas

Then obviously came dessert time! The Sticky Toffee Pudding seems to be a favourite of my dining companions as it's what my brother had last time, so I knew it was going to be good! I borrowed a spoonful and I did feel one more little pang of jealousy after tasting the  soft sponge, sweet syrup and creamy vanilla ice cream but it didn't last long...

gusto cookridge desserts

... only until I caught sight of my amazing Chocolate, Pistachio and Clementine Mess. An inspired winter twist on the classic Eton mess, my pile of cream, meringue and clementine segments (all topped off with rich chocolate and crushed pistachios) was delicious - one of those great desserts that you don't want to come to the end of!

gusto leeds desserts winter mess

These big indulgent meals at Gusto seem to be getting a bit of a habit of mine, but not one I want to break any time soon! In fact, all things considered, it seems only fair I check out the Christmas menu too, right? I mean, there are still a bunch of the festive cocktails I haven't tried yet.... 

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